Monday 28 October 2013

Ekta Solanki at Asian Bride Live 2013

Ekta Solanki have been on my watch list for a few years now with their bold lehenga cholis and I'm sure they'll be on a lot more people's after tonight when their outfits will be seen on TV worn by the cast of reality show Made in Chelsea.

Before I give my verdict on how the MIC ladies worked these outfits, here's a look at one of their most recent Asian bridal fashion shows - the Asian Bride Live event which took place in London on 13th October:

I've seen this blue and purple lehenga in a few magazine shoots and even though I've seen it before it still has that "wow" impact. I like the detail on the belt and contrasting orange.

This blue and red outfit was probably my least favourite from the collection, that shade of blue is just a bit too much for my tastes.

You can see in the photo above the underskirt/netting which creates the shape of these lehengas - this one in particular looks velvet to me so that underskirt is going to make all the different to how it falls and probably how easy it is to walk in!

Photo credits: Shahid Malik

Are you a fan of Ekta Solanki? Which outfit is your favourite?

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Battle of the Asian Wedding and Bride Magazines Autumn 2013

Over the last month, I have been the lucky recipient of the Autumn 2013 issues of three top asian bridal and wedding magazines for UK brides. Here's my review of how Asiana Wedding, Asian Bride and Khush Wedding compare!

The Front Cover

Which of the front covers is the most striking to you? When I first got my copy of Asiana Wedding I was really taken by the green beauty look and pearl jewelley, but when you put all three magazines together like this, Asian Bride with that beautiful red and gold Manish Malhotra outfit has to be the standout for me.

This is always said about Asian fashion magazines in the UK, but it's sad that, styling aside, none of the cover models really look asian.


You can probably see from the photos that Khush Wedding, at 217 pages, is a little lacking in page volume compared to Asiana Wedding (450 pages) and Asian Bride (448 pages). Khush Wedding is slightly cheaper though at £3.95, compared to the £4.50 price tag of Asiana and Asian Bride.

What's inside?

Asiana Wedding
Of these three magazines, Asiana Wedding is the one I've read most frequently (I still have copies of the mag from 5 years ago!) and as such, it means that a lot of the features feel like I've seen them before. There's nothing wrong with that of course, because I'm sure there are plenty of brides who haven't read old issues and who will find all the information new, but there are probably a lot of long-time readers who might feel the same way I do.

I found a lot of the products and suppliers featured were London based, especially the venue ideas. They ran a feature on engagement venues, 7 out of 8 were in London and most of the wedding venue ideas were in the south of the UK too.

In terms of advice, compared to the other two magazines, a lot of the articles feel like advertorials (content sponsored by, or written specifically to showcase Asiana's advertisors). Again, there's nothing wrong with this, but personally I like to see more of a balance of articles which offer insights from multiple sources rather than just one advertisor.

I've highlighted the advertisors in red in this photo from the content pages of the mag:

Prices of outfits and services are scarce within asian wedding magazines in general, but I like the feature by RDC about their wedding outfit packages starting with the "silver" package consisting of bridals starting at £1,200.

In terms of beauty, there were lots of looks to choose from, but like the front cover, the models used weren't very asian looking! Here's one of the pages from Asiana Wedding's bridal beauty portfolios section:

Khush Wedding
This is the second issue of Khush Wedding and whilst a lot of the features are similar to Asiana and Asian Bride, you can tell they're trying to set themselves apart by offering something a bit different.

Where the other two magazines stopped at honeymoon destination guides, Khush included some inspiration on home styling too. In terms of suppliers, to me, Khush wedding feels like it covers a wider area of the UK than Asiana does - I noticed a lot of Birmingham-based clothing stores and even a wedding venue option in Manchester!

As well as fashion inspiration from their advertisers, they also had a feature on the key trends from Indian Bridal Fashion week which I liked a lot:

When it came to advice, I thought it was good to see a bit of coverage for the "not fun" parts of planning a wedding, including wedding finances - I feel a lot of magazines focus too much on the dream element and not enough on the reality of it all! They balanced this out with their two "real wedding" features which sounded and looked perfect, but perhaps I think they need a few more real weddings to showcase different ways of celebrating.

I've mentioned the light-skinned look of the models on all three magazine covers and in Asiana's beauty portfolios, and although the same was to be seen in Khush Wedding and in Asian Bride, with Khush, I felt the models were slightly more bronzed like in this jewellery feature:

Asian Bride
Before this issue, I can't remember the last time I read Asian Bride. I'd heard (among other things) that they'd had a change of ownership and staff in the last 12 months, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. What I found inside the mag was very different to the look and feel of Asiana and Khush.

By the time you've flicked through 90 pages of adverts to the contents page, you find the articles and advice are presented in shorter "snippet"-style pages rather than full pages of text, almost with a scrapbook feel.
This style of presentation somehow makes Asian Bride feel like it has more content than Asiana Wedding - even though they're both a similar number of pages.

Like Khush Wedding, this issue of Asian Bride hasn't shied away from talking about the less glamourous aspects of wedding planning, but I felt Asian Bride went into a bit more detail in this respect and I liked that.

Their fashion inspiration coverage was probably the most comprehensive out of all three magazines - excluding paid advertisements, Asian Bride offered the most coverage of asian fashion catwalk shows including Pakistan Fashion Week 4 which was also covered on Asian Fashion Blog :)

One big negative for this magazine comes in the form of a complaint I saw from a photographer on Facebook - a "real bride" photo she took appeared in the magazine in one of their scrapbook-style pages and she wasn't credited in any way. From a reader perspective that's just a small thing, and maybe it's a one-off or worse, commonplace for this type of thing to happen, but it didn't give me a great impression of the magazine.

So...which was best?

I'm sitting on the fence about this one - there are positives and negatives for all three magazines, whichever you buy you'll no doubt find something to inspire you for your big day! I do however have a list of things I'd like to see more of in these magazines:

What I'd like to see more of...

Maybe I'm not quite the target market for these bridal magazines, but if I was using these magazines to plan my wedding today, the following would be on my wishlist:
  • more asian-looking models
  • prices of services and suppliers
  • outfit comparisons - bridal outfits on the catwalk and how they are altered and styled on a real bride
  • more real weddings, and not just the ones with huge budgets and where everything was perfect - I'd be reassured to hear a story from a bride who didn't get her first choice venue/make-up artist/dress/whatever and still had an amazing day
  • more coverage for suppliers across the UK

Win my copies of all three magazines

As I'm not currently planning a wedding, these magazines will probably be much more useful to somebody who is, so I'll be giving away all three copies to one lucky Asian Fashion Blog fan in the UK. Like the Asian Fashion Blog Facebook Page and look out for my update in the next few days with details on how you can win!

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Diya and Bombay Stores at the Asiana Couture fashion show

Here are the collections from Diya and Bombay Stores as seen on the catwalk at Asiana Magazine's Couture Fashion Show!

First up, Diya with their collection consisting mostly of pink saris!

The final two outfits from this collection were probably the most interesting to me:

Up next were Bombay Stores and their collection had a really bright funky vibe!

Here's a close of the detail on the front of these outfits:

They also showcased their collection of digital print kurtas which I blogged about when they were on the catwalk at Pakistan Fashion Week 4, according to the Bombay Stores websites, these are priced at £75 each:

Thanks to Asia Glam for these photos.

Monday 14 October 2013

RDC at the Asiana Couture Catwalk Show in London 2013

RDC were the only designer to have two slots on the catwalk at the Asiana Couture show; they started with a range of formal outfits and the second collection had a more casual feel to it.

I really liked the hair accessories that went with this collection. I didn't quite catch where they were from, but I imagine with the right materials you could make something like this to match your outfits.

The dark blue and gold outfit was my favourite out their first catwalk segment, here's a bit more of the detail:

My photos of the second collection didn't come out very well, but here's a video to show you the kind of loose kaftan-style outfits they showcased:

What do you think of this collection and which outfits are your favourites?

Photo credits: Asia Glam

Saturday 12 October 2013

Sati at the Asiana Couture Catwalk Show in London

Sati Takhar is a designer which has been on my radar for quite some time as their ad campaigns regularly appeared in Asiana Magazine and Asiana Wedding, although this if the first time I've written about them on Asian Fashion Blog.

Their collection for the Asiana Couture Catwalk show was red-themed!

These outfits came onto the catwalk and disappeared again in such a hurry that this was the only collection from the whole show that I didn't get a single decent photo of! Thankfully, the team at Asia Glam got some good photos and I quite like most of the outfits.

The outfit below was one my favourites, I wouldn't wear it strapless or with see-through lace leggings, but I'm a big fan of the shape - how the dress is shorter at the front and longer at the back

Well known model Ayyan finished off the show in this outfit:

Overall, compared to the real brides and ad campaigns I've seen by Sati, this collection seemed a little tame - I was expecting something more dramatic.

This is one of their magazine ads:

What do you think of this collection?

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Make-up Counter Review - Laura Mercier at House of Fraser Westfield London

When my go-to MUA isn't available or I'm attending an event straight after work, I have been known to get my make-up done at a beauty counter in a department store. Here's my experience with the team at Laura Mercier in House of Fraser Westfield London!

My usual choices for having my make-up done are the MAC counter, where for a fee of £30 they will do you make-up and you get to spend that £30 on products, or Bobbi Brown where the condition for having your make-up done is that you have to buy two products afterwards.

On this occassion, the afternoon of the Asiana Couture Catwalk Show I left it really late and couldn't get an appointment at either Bobbi Brown or MAC. I don't own any Laura Mercier products, but out of all the other make-up counters, they were my next choice because I'd had a good make-over experience with them a few years before.

They charged £25 for an "evening" make-up look and of course the £25 was redeemable against product purchases. I didn't have a specific look in mind, but I was drawn to their "Dark Spell" collection - shown in the picture above and I wanted my make-up to work with the fact I'd be wearing my glasses.

My make-up artist, Vicky, was so friendly from the start and was so easy to talk with about what would work best for me. My skin wasn't in great condition so I wanted some decent coverage but nothing too heavy and we decided to focus on a smokey eye on my upper eyelids only (as my eyes have been a bit prone to infection lately and my lower lash line is the worst area for this).

An hour later, this was the final look:

I'm not sure this selfie does it justice but I was really happy with the look. I know plenty of girls who could do this kind of make-up themselves, but personally, I don't always have the patience, time, or the range of products to do this myself. I knew everybody at the Asiana show would be looking fabulous and I didn't want to take my chances doing my own make-up.
I think it was good value for money too, especially if you're planning on buying the products anyway.

Here's a close up of eye the make-up:

The make-up lasted all evening and by the time it came to taking it all off, I couldn't believe it was all still in place! Here's a photo from the end of my evening taken in the Asiana Magazine photopod:

With my £25 to spend, I ended up going over the minumum and buying the "Laura's Secrets Volume 5 - Shimmering Radiance" gift set - for £42.

Here's the full list of the other products used to create my look:

* Purifying cleansing oil
* Pefecting Water moisture mist

Flawless Face
* Foundation primer oil-free
* Silk Creme Foundation in Hazelnut Beige
* Secret Camouflage in 5
* Secret Concealer in 4
* Loose setting powder
* Secret brightening powder

* Caviar Stick in Grey Pearl and Smoke
* Dark Spell Baked eye color in Mystical
* Dark Spell Baked eye color in Magical
* Full Blown Volume Mascara
* Brow Pencil in Brunette
* Creme Eyeliner in Noir

* Shimmer Bloc in Golden Mosaic
* Bronzing Pressed Powder in Dune Bronze
* Second Skin Cheek Colour in Sweet Mandarin

* Anti Feathering Lip Pencil in Hazelnut Tea
* Creme Smooth Lip Colour in Spiced Rose

Monday 7 October 2013

Variety Silk House at the Asiana Couture Catwalk Show

Variety Silk House were the first clothing designer on the catwalk at the Asiana Couture Catwalk Show and they filled it with bright pinks and orange shades!

This felt a lot like a summer collection:

If I had to pick a favourite from the collection, this would be the one:
Perhaps it was the lighting, my tiredness from waiting an hour for the show to start, or how quickly the outfits swished past in a blur, but none of these outfits really had a huge impact on me. Seeing this collection wouldn't entice me to go and visit their store - what do you think?

A huge thank you to Asia Glam for letting me share their photos from the show. Check out their Facebook page here.

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